6 Ways to Supercharge your Google My Business (GMB) Profile for Local SEO
January 21, 2021
Growing your business, especially when it operates from a physical location, is almost impossible without local SEO. Nearly half of all searches on Google are for local information, with an astounding 900% growth over the last few years. Meanwhile, local searches result in a purchase 28% of the time.
An optimized profile on Google, in other words, can be a core driver of revenue and business growth.
That profile, called Google My Business, should therefore become a central part of your local SEO and larger digital strategy. It’s a free tool that helps you gain significant online exposure if you do it right.
You can only show up in the top results of relevant searches if you go beyond mere profile creation. That’s why this guide focuses on the six steps you can take to supercharge your GMB profile, turning it into a reliable growth machine.
Step 1: Optimize Your GMB Profile
Let’s start with the basics. A well-built Google My Business profile is essential for local SEO optimization. That includes a few core steps in its own right, outlined in more detail by Search Engine Journal:
- Claim your profile, then verify it.
- Enter your complete information, including open hours and other, industry-specific details.
- Write a keyword-optimized description of your business.
- Add high-quality photos and other visuals.
It’s a one-time step but requires ongoing optimization. If hours, your business model, or any other part of your business change, the GMB should be adjusted as well.
Step 2: Take Care of Your Website
In local SEO, your website and GMB profile are closely connected. If you get your website right, you tend to rank higher in the map-based business listings and vice-versa. Well-ranking websites tend to transfer that authority and credibility to the GMB profile, so even indirect steps designed to increase your website SEO can help in that effort.
At the same time, you will need to take some more direct steps as well. The most important is consistency. Google wants to see websites that list their business information, including contact info, address, name, and even hours, the same on both their GMB profile and their site.
That doesn’t just include your text. Google uses your website’s structured data to understand what the page is about, and what information matters. Understanding and optimization of your structured data according to your local business information is a vital step to not just rank higher in local SEO, but transfer that ranking to your GMB profile as well.
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Step 3: Build Your Citations
One important, but overlooked element of local SEO are citations, which are website references to your core business information: your business name, address, and phone number (N.A.P.). Generally speaking, the more citations you get from high-quality third-party websites, the more authoritative and prominent Google considers your business, and the more highly you’ll rank as a result.
Some of these citations are unstructured, meaning they appear in regular content on your websites or others. Tactics like guest blogging can help to build them if done right. So can targeted social media, and even local newspaper articles about your business.
Other citations are structured, largely consisting of business directories like YellowPages, Yelp, and AngiesList. The more you build, the better—as long as they’re consistent with the information on your GMB profile. When in doubt, ask your local SEO agency to help in the process of building and maintaining citations.
Step 4: Post Visuals and Content
The first three steps are sequential. The last two, however, are ongoing. That begins with building an active GMB presence through regular new pictures as well as local posts.
Photos might just be the element of your GMB profile that receives the most views. The more unique and representative of your business and its product or service, the better. Google especially likes geotagged images, which means adding GPS coordinates of your address to each photo. Many marketers like GeoImgr as a simple tool to do it for every image you upload.
The other option for fresh content is local posts. Appearing alongside your core GMB information, they help you publish important information about special offers, events, and product launches. Best of all, they’re a great opportunity to further optimize your profile for keywords relevant to your business and industry. One thing to keep in mind is updates only last for 7 days before they are archived (event and offer posts don’t expire until the event or offer is over).
Google’s tutorial on local GMB posts is a great place to get started. Aim to publish a new post at least once a week for maximum effect.
Step 5: Actively Engage With Your Audience
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, working with your customers is not just good for reputation management, but has a tangible effect on your local SEO. That begins with managing your reviews.
Strategic reviews, written by your customers, can help significantly in your keyword optimization. And of course, a higher average review will rank you above your competitors. However, those reviews need to be substantial, and cannot seem like spam. Asking customers proactively to review specific aspects of your business can often lead to success.
Another, more hidden feature within GMB is enabling messages from your customers. Once you enable them in your profile, you’ll be able to both respond and set up automated responses. In addition to helping solve important issues and answer questions, Google strongly recommends responding within 24 hours to keep messaging privileges and help in profile optimization.
Step 6: Hire a Local SEO Agency to Optimize Your GMB Profile
The above steps, of course, are only the beginning. You can take major steps by completing them, but some advanced features are still waiting to be unlocked. For instance, you can leverage Google My Business to publish special offers, events, or new product launches. You can even leverage a unique set of quantitative metrics to gain insight into your audience’s behaviors and preferences.
That’s why the final step is to look for help. For instance, you might want to look into a partnership with a local SEO agency like BrandCraft, which specializes in marketing tactics like Google My Business profiles. Through a partnership with us, you can continually optimize your GMB profile to supercharge your local SEO efforts and reliably drive business growth.